Saturday, May 9, 2009

Family Trees and Norwegian Kringla from Iowa

Maternal Lines

Why Not Norwegian Kringla?
"Honey, can you make some Kringla cookies like my mom and my Grandma used to make?" my husband asked me at Christmas a couple of years ago.  "Sure," I said as I mentally calculated just where I could "fit" that in...You see, I love to bake at Christmas.  I bake tons of cookies [and I really do mean tons].  I also make candy...just like my mom and my Gran used to do.  From our family secret peanut brittle to pralines and beyond...Not to mention pies and whatever else I pick out from my holiday cookbooks that looks pretty [and maybe a little challenging ;) ].  So, why not Norwegian Kringla? ["Why not," indeed!]

Apprenticeship, Anyone?
Do you know what Kringla is...Have you ever tasted it?  It's a very light cookie in the shape of a pretzel - not quite as sweet as sugar cookies, but in the same ballpark.  Anyway, I thought, "How hard could it be?"  [You'd think by now I would've learned to not ask that question.]  HA!  It's extremely hard to make Kringla.  For starters, the dough is runny [and it's supposed to be].  That's all fine and dandy, but then it can be kind of troublesome when trying to roll it in the shape of a snake [a small garden know, the kind you made in kindergarten with clay].  I was a "little" fustrated at this point, as I was trying to do 10 things at once and even though I'd made the dough as cold as possible so that it would be stiff, I had no luck with it, and I had to admit failure at this particular point.  I really hate to lose, but this recipe of Grandma Richardson's had me beat.  I had to tell my hubby, there would be no Kringla for Christmas, and that I was going to have to go to Iowa and apprentice with his Norwegian descendant kinfolk.  He just looked at me and said, "Yeah, right."

Hackett's of Iowa
Yes, my husband was born in Iowa [but he got to Texas as soon as he could].  He's been here since he was in 5th grade, and he's assimilated nicely.  However, all his kinfolk settled in Iowa and were farmers [hard to believe, huh?].  Above I have some of my husband's mothers in his family [his mom will be in a separate post with my mom next.]  In the top middle is Grandma Richardson, a.ka. Neva Virene (Hackett) Richardson.  She and her family are in the next picture to the right.  Her father on the left was Raymond Clifford Hackett and her mother was Neva Jane Long on the right.  Grandma Richardson is in the middle with her two sisters Ila and Myrna.  The picture directly below is a very "motherly" picture...Great-Grandma Long sitting down with her three daughters behind her.  The next picture to the left is Grandma Richardson with her children and husband [my hubby's mom is on the far right].

Where the Kringla Secret Lies...
In the top left is a wedding picture of John R. Richardson and Belle T. Weeks, Grandma Richardson's in-laws, and this is the Norwegian connection [and where the Kringla recipe secret probably comes from].  It's kind of nice to put a face to the family that has stumped me with a cookie recipe [of all things]!  Be that as it may, I love this's so cool [for those of us who like old photographs].  When I began to research the Richardson family, I never in a million years would've thought that it had already been researched.  This line of my husband's has been traced back to the mid-1500's in Norway and Scotland.  A few brave Scottish souls sailed the frigid waters to Norway.  This is so cool and I am not jealous that it's traced back that far.  Nope, not at all.  [Well maybe just a little.  O.K., a lot].  The bright side is that I married into it, and it's mine now...[ha!]

One Good-Looking Grandma
The bottom left is my husband's Grandma Pointer, Myrtle Elaine Haley in both of the pictures.  Her family descends from Irish immigrants, Patrick Haley and Bridget Foley who settled in Vermont.  In the older picture from the 1970's I think she is one good-lookin' grandma!

Happy Mother's Day Great-Grandma Long, Great-Grandma Richardson, Grandma Richardson, and Grandma Pointer!



  1. Another blogger friend of mine in Minnesota is of Norwegian descent

    check out her post on one of her recipes. Not sure if he makes Kringla. Sounds good though.

    Have a Wonderful Mother's Day.


  2. Good read!

    My family came from Norway and Settled in Iowa as well. We lovingly call those who are still in Iowa the "Iowegians". The women in my family make Kringla every year at Christmas time. It truly is an art to make them. I was at Epcott last year and stopped at the Norwegian bakery there. Thier Kringla was very different than our sugar cookies. I was more like a flaky pastery. I was googling different recipes and came across your page. Thought I'd say hello.



  3. Make the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Kringla is so hard to make but it's so good. Gotta love Norwegian Iowans!

  4. My maternal grandparents were both from Norway. My grandfather's family were Holversons (unsure the spelling) and when they came over changed their last name to Ness but unsure why.
    During the Christmas season Mom would make Kringlas, lefses and krumkaka. She passed the love of making Kringlas and lefses down to me. Mom also made Kuala, big potato dumplings.
    Loved the read and thank you for sharing.


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